Walk In Kamal’s Memory
Work colleagues, family and friends of a popular Huddersfield community worker who died of cancer last month are to pull on their walking boots to help keep his memory alive and raise money for his chosen charity.
Kamal Aftab, aged 32, of Almondbury died two months after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. A big charity worker, he set about raising thousands from his hospital bed after his diagnosis , for Bloodwise, the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity.
Each year his work colleagues at Huddersfield-based Valli Opticians organise a 10-mile charity Valli Rally. This year the family friendly walk is being held in his honour in a bid to get closer to the £50,000 target for Bloodwise, set by Kamal and supported now by his family.
The walk on Saturday, September 19 takes in Valli’s four Huddersfield stores in Meltham, Honley, Almondbury and Lockwood and finishes with a traditional Yorkshire tea party and music from Yorkshire Traction Honley Brass Band.
Kamal , an optometrist, worked for Valli for four years and according to Valli owner , Moin Valli, was a popular staff member, loved not just by his colleagues, but clients too. Mr Valli hopes clients and members of the Huddersfield community will rally round and join the walk too, or give a donation at the Just Giving page set up for the event.
So far around 100 people – including 10 members of Kamal’s family – have signed up for the walk but organisers hope this number will treble before the day. Kamal took part in a `hospital marathon’ during his stay in St James Hospital, Leeds and raised £14,000 for Bloodwise. This figure has now reached over £30,000 thanks to donations and events held after his death by his family and friends.
“We are thrilled Valli are holding this annual walk in Kamal’s memory and would urge anyone reading this to come and join us. Kamal did so much for charity so it is fitting others are now doing their bit for him,” said his brother, Yousaf Aftab who is doing the walk.
Kamal was an active member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) and was shortlisted for an Examiner Community Award for his services to the community. He met HRH The Queen two years ago because of his charity work and was named The Guardian newspaper Volunteer of the Year in 2014.
The walk starts at Meltham at 9.am and finishes at Lockwood at 3pm. Walkers can do the full 10 miles or just one or two legs. Registration is £5 and that includes a free tee-shirt and bottled water. Valli suppliers are sponsoring the walk .
Valli, which now has seven branches in Wakefield, Hull and Hebden Bridge, as well as Huddersfield, hopes to raise at least £7,000 . This will be split between Bloodwise and the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
“The Valli Rally is one of the ways we like to give back to the community. The dedication and commitment shown by Kamal to local causes was an inspiration to everyone. It is in his memory that we are doing this years walk. We have also set up the Kamal Aftab Award For Excellence at Valli and this will be given to a member of staff each year at our annual award ceremony,” said Mr Valli.
Those who don’t fancy walking can simply join the walkers at the end for the band and a cup of tea, and hopefully make a donation.